Italian wins gold in marathon

Italian wins gold in marathon


norman lebrecht

August 16, 2021

The conductor Riccardo Muti, 80, has been awarded the Great Gold Medal of honour for services to the Austrian Republic.

They worked out that he has conducted more often at Salzburg – 270 times – than any conductor except Herbert von Karajan. The Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler called him an ‘impressive constant in a cultural scene threatened by superficial events.’

The award was made after his performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.


  • Pianofortissimo says:

    The facts are clear: Riccardo Muti is a great conductor.

    Congratulations, Maestro Muti!

    • Amos says:

      IMO was should replace is. Since leaving Philadelphia the performances have been mixed at best. I recall reading comments from a principal player in the VPO who characterized RMs approach to music making by noting that he stretched out a performance of the Mozart 41st to over 45 minutes by taking every repeat just because he could.

      • Bernard Jacobson says:

        Amos cites (with evident approval) a Vienna Philharmonic principal player who comments (with evident derisive disapproval) that Muti “stretched out a performance of the Mozart 41st to over 45 minutes by taking every repeat just because he could.” It might be a good idea for both commenters to reflect that Muti took those repeats not “just because he could,” but because he is one of the relatively few conductors for whom the composer’s wishes are always paramount, and that is what Mozart’s score instructs him to do.

        • Amos says:

          I would point out that an eminent and lifelong devoted Mozartian like George Szell managed to convey what is in the score in 30 minutes and I can’t think of anyone else who comes close to Muti’s approach. As Mr. Jacobsen knows the decision to take repeats is not set in stone especially as a piece becomes better known. I pointed out previously your devotion to RM is imo tainted by self-service.

  • David says:

    It seems that Maestro Muti’s Missa Solemnis left some critics quite unimpressed.

    the critic says Beethoven’s contrapuntistic architecture was not rendered. and also, Using an app translator, BR Klassik wrote:

    “The problematic of this performance becomes particularly clear in the highly demanding Credo. For Beethoven, what mattered was the extremely concise interpretation of the liturgical text in all its facets. With the strength of the sound, which Muti not only controls here, the intelligibility of the text suffers all too often. The vocal concert association of the Vienna State Opera Choir also contributes to this. And in the fugal passages, surprising wobbles cloud the overall picture – you are not used to that at Muti. How beneficial are the lyrically internalized moments, especially the unearthly floating Benedictus! The concert master of the Vienna Philharmonic, Rainer Honeck, plays the unique violin solo with ease.”

    I remember his Beethoven 9th left V Rhein very unimpressed in Chicago.

    • Jackson says:

      “Critici musicali all casa!”

    • Marfisa says:

      The review was more favorable than your google-translated excerpt suggests. Its closing point seems to be that Muti is not hip to HIP: “Aber dennoch wirkt so eine traditionelle Beethoven-Interpretation heute seltsam anachronistisch.” My suspicion is that many SD regulars would be on Muti’s side.

    • tommaso says:

      Muti on Beethoven: like cheap pecorino on caviar.

      Not a good combination

  • Chicagorat says:

    Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi personally phoned Italian athletes who won gold medals in Japan.

    After the Quirinale affair, the odds are he will not phone Muti 😉

    • Lothario Hunter says:

      … and La Signora knows of this affair?

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Prime Ministers come and go (in Italy very fast indeed), and Maestro Muti has remained in charge longer than any of them.

    • Fabrizio Scotto di Santolo says:

      This has NOTHING to do with music. I was at the Missa Solemnis for the 3 performances. Muti delivered a great interpretation. Mario Draghi has openly acknowledged Muti as a great professional. This comment from ‘Chigagorat’ sounds simply as a personal issue.

  • Alan says:

    And it was a superb performance.

    Some of the bile on here about him is sickening.

    • Chicagorat says:

      As sickening as Muti’s bile directed at Chailly? or Lissner?

      Or the “rabbi” Sam Zell? or the “lesbian” and “woman” Higson?

      Or the “f*****” YNS?

      Please articulate your moral standards.

      • steve says:

        omfg it’s “Higdon”, not “Higson”, as you have misspelled the all too many times you’ve been complaining on here. looks like you really don’t know that much lmfao

  • Gustavo says:

    “…he has conducted more often at Salzburg – 270 times – than any conductor except Herbert von Karajan.”

    However, because Nazi-associate Herbert von Karajan is now treated as persona non grata in Salzburg, Muti received the golden and not the silver medal.

    In an urgent application, the Bertold-Brecht-Platz is to be named after Riccardo Muti.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Good idea.

      • Tamino says:

        To rename a place named after an actual creator with the name of a mere performer? That would be a downgrade, don’t you think?

        • Pianofortissimo says:

          While Bretch brings nothing positive, Muti preserves a unvaluable performance tradition to comfort the soul. Of course, this is the view from the perspective of my omniscient navel.

        • Gustavo says:

          We’re talking about the Herbert-von-Karjan-Platz which was woke-washed last month into Bertold-Brecht-Platz without convincing argument.

          Neither Karajan nor Brecht created the Salzburger Festspiele.

  • sam says:

    “270 times … impressive constant”

    Damned with faint praise, damned with faint praise.

    That’s like winning the “Perfect Attendance Award” in my elementary school.

    Not the number 1 in the class, not the most talented in the class, just the most “constant” in the class: yep, he showed up every school day.

    Of the 270 performances, his most memorable performance was when did NOT conduct, when he did not show up for the premiere of La Clemenza.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Shouldn’t such a prize go to Beethoven and not to the person waving the stick? Their job IS to do a good job. And by the way, you can shop on Amazon, and or anywhere else, and buy a dozen different truly top drawer performances of the “Missa Solemnis”, with big name, ‘top of the line’ soloists participating. Muti didn’t cure cancer here.

  • Tamino says:

    To write his name on the document as “Maestro Riccardo Muti” is so tacky. Maestro is not a part of his name, nor is it a title. It’s a colloquial term how people call conductors.
    Are brides people called “Darling” or “Honey” on their marriage certificates?